Thursday, January 20, 2022

Brandon's Trifecta

Ripperger notes that "contradictory speech is a sign of one of three things."

The first and most common reason is that "the person is dishonest or disingenuous." This is usually the case in politicians and journalists. What kind of naif is Shocked, shocked to find that lying is going on in here!, in the government-media complex?  

Ripperger's second reason for contradictory speech is "real confusion in the mind of the individual." A normal person is sufficiently self-aware to be concerned about his contradictions. I know I would be alarmed if I woke up one morning to find more than one creator, one cosmos, one reality, one truth, one philosophy, one wife, etc.  

Consistency. That's what we strive for at One Cosmos. Although, at the same time, we enjoy the challenge of tossing this or that seemingly contradictory fact into the cosmic hopper, just for the fun of harmonizing it with the rest. 

Anyway, whereas in the case of the dishonest person it is a matter of a corrupt will or "spirit of falsity," anyone can be confused due to a "lack of understanding or due to the difficulty of the object of knowledge in relation to the limits of the human intellect." 

Most people are confused about a lot of things, for example, the appeal of Stephen Colbert. Nothing wrong with that, unless we paper over the confusion and pretend to a certitude that has no logical or factual basis. Then we're shading into mental illness, either functional (e.g., borderline personality) or organic (e.g., dementia).

Speaking of which, James Rosen actually asked the president why he thinks most Americans have profound concerns about his cognitive deterioration, to which Brandon replied I have no idea

Ironically, this is probably the most honest thing he said in the entire two hours of desperate obfuscation, dissimulation, and word salad. "One-armed paper hanger" comes to mind. 

Which brings us to the third cause of contradictory speech, that "the person can be mentally ill; in fact, contradictory speech is a clear sign of mental illness."

How convenient is that! For it allows us to recognize and steer clear of mentally ill people, because they spew forth contradictions like a squid releases ink.

Now, many forms of contradictory speech are entirely benign, nor could civilization carry on in their absence. No one is brutally honest at all times. The very existence of good manners is a contradiction. And yet, there are people who cannot manage this -- e.g., babies, savages, leftists. But I threepeat myself.

President Brandon was of course born lying, but in his case there's something more going on; his contradictions are openly contradictory, and yet, he is the only person in the room who isn't confused by his confusion.  

It looks like Brandon has achieved the trifecta, in that he is a congenital liar; is confused but doesn't know it; and is suffering from a progressive neurodegenerative illness. 

Thus, most everything he says is an implicit or explicit contradiction, which is what makes trying to follow him so wearying. One cannot listen to him as one would to a normal person, since most of that he says makes no sense; one must strain to find the meaning, but it is often impossible. Try reading the following, and see what I mean. It's exhausting:

I mean -- and one of the things I find fascinating that’s happening -- and you all are dealing with it every day -- and it will impact on how things move -- is that a lot of the speculation in the polling data shows that the -- that the cables are heading south; they’re losing viewership. You know?

Well, Fox is okay for a while, but it’s not gated. And a lot of the rest are predicted to be not very much in the mix in the next four to five years. I don’t know whether that’s true or not.

*** 

I’ve spent a lot of time in South America and in Latin America. When I was Vice President, I spent the bulk of my eight years basically in Europe and/or in Latin America. I’m in contact with the leaders of the countries in South America, and we’re working closely with making sure that we do everything -- for example, with the -- to deal with helping the countries in question, particularly those in Central America, to be able to help them with their ability to deal with the inter- 

People don’t sit around in Guatemala and say, “I got a great idea: Let’s sell everything we have, give the money to a -- to a coyote, take us across a terribly dangerous trip up through Central America and up through Mexico, and drop us -- sneak us across the border, drop us in the desert. Won’t that be fun?”

People leave because they have real problems. And one of the things that I’ve done, when I was a Vice President, and got support with -- although I don’t have much Republican support anymore -- is provide billions of dollars to be able to say to those countries, “Why are people leaving? And how are you going to reform your own system?” And that’s what we’ve worked on a long time. It still needs a lot more work. And we’re focusing on that.

I also believe -- I’ve spent a lot of time talking about and dealing with policy having to do with Maduro, who is little more than a dictator right now, and the same thing in Chile and Af- -- not the same thing, but with Chile, as well as Argentina.

So, look, I made a speech a while ago, when I was Vice President, saying that if we were smart, we have an opportunity to make the Western Hemisphere a united -- not united -- a democratic hemisphere. And we were moving in the right direction under our -- under the last administration -- the Obama-Biden administration.

But so much damage was done as a consequence of the foreign policy decisions the last president made in Latin America, Central America, and South America that we now have --when I call for a summit of the democracies -- I called that, and a number of nations showed up for this Summit of Democracy -- what is it that’s going to allow us to generate -- we’ve actually had a reduction in the number of democracies in the world. And it seems to me there’s nothing more important.

We used to talk about, when I was a kid in college, about “America’s backyard.” It’s not America’s backyard. Everything south of the Mexican border is America’s front yard. And we’re equal people. We don’t dictate what happens in any other part of that -- of this continent or the South American continent. We have to work very hard on it.

But the trouble is: We’re having great difficulty making up for the mistakes that were made the last four years, and it’s going to take some time.

Got that?

Now, "one of the most important first principles for psychology is the principle of sufficient reason," which is basically a fancy way of saying that things have causes, and that the cause must be sufficient to explain the effect. 

But "those who suffer from delusions often are not operating according to this principle," in that they "think that certain things are causing their problems when those things (or people) are not capable of it." They blame that for causing this, even though neither this nor that may even exist, let alone be causally related.

The "Voting Rights Bill" is a case in point. All American citizens already have the right to vote. And yet, racists such as myself will supposedly prevent them from voting unless this bill is passed. Nary a sufficient reason in sight.

We'd better stop here: "being around the mentally ill a great deal and trying to think the way they do in order to understand them can lead to the psychologist's own mental illness" (Ripperger).

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Between Hope & Hysteria

It seems that there are but three main philosophical possibilities open to man: empiricism (or materialism), rationalism (or idealism), or moderate (not strictly Platonic) realism. 

But in reality there is only one, since empiricism is a trap from which it is impossible to escape from the senses to knowledge, while idealism is a trap from which it is impossible to escape from knowledge to the world. 

Only moderate realism allows world and knowledge -- intelligence and intelligibility, subject and object -- to meet in the middle and to be harmonized in truth. Truth is the harmony of cosmos and intellect.

Let's think about "mental illness." Obviously it must involve some kind of privation or lack; at the same time, it cannot be posited in the absence of a proper end, or telos -- one might even say destiny. 

Now, as we know, the end is first in intention but last in execution. For example, if you're going to build a house, you begin with the blueprint and end up with a place to live. Nor can you reside in the blueprint; then again, there are plenty of people who live in their dreams, ideals, and abstractions.

Come to think of it, I just finished a wonderful book by Gordon Wood called Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06WRQFZHC?ie=UTF8&tag=onecos-20&camp=1789&linkCode=xm2&creativeASIN=B06WRQFZHC) 

So, what divided them? That's a long story, but certainly it had a lot to do with Jefferson being such an unhinged idealist and rationalist, while Adams was more a hardbitten cynic who was properly wary of Man and all his Works. 

Thus, ironically, the idealist ended up quite despairing about the future of the country, while the cynic was much more resigned to the messiness and imperfectability of things.

Which goes to a general lesson about the dangers of worldly optimism (which has nothing to do with the theological virtue of hope, and is often a twisted version of it). 

There is never a good reason to be optimistic. For one thing, strategic pessimism allows one to be happily surprised when events don't end in catastrophe, but instead turn out to be pleasantly disastrous. Aphorisms:

With good humor and pessimism it is possible to be neither wrong nor bored.

Intelligent optimism is never faith in progress, but hope for a miracle.

The progressive forgets that sin frustrates any ideal he longs for; the conservative forgets that he corrupts any reality he defends.

He who wishes to avoid grotesque collapses should look for nothing in space or in time that will fulfill him.

Nothing that satisfies our expectations fulfills our hopes.

In history it is sensible to hope for miracles and absurd to trust in plans.

From what I understand, there are apparently millions of Americans who are now "disappointed" because they had hoped President Brandon would "unify" the nation. 

Ho!

I wonder how many of these purblind worldlings have sufficient self-awareness to even begin to understand how and why the eminently Self-evident could have been buried under an avalanche of Self-deception? For starters, what preternatural powers of mind prevented one from noticing Brandon's debilitating senility? 

But let's get back to our main subject. Because we're right here in the middle of it, it can be quite difficult to appreciate the historical, anthropological, and psychological weirdness of the times we're living in. Not only has man never lived like this, it's not yet clear if he should live like this. 

Like what?

One of the difficulties of modern life is that the principles innate in the intellect are being denied and so people who are trained to think contrary to right reasoning have difficulty working their way through life's normal problems. 

Not to bag on Jefferson, but not only was he the founder of the Democrat party, but he was -- not coincidentally -- a devotee of precisely this type of systematically flawed reasoning, the very same reasoning that pervades the contemporary left. Let's just call it an extreme environmentalism -- or "blank slate-ism" -- that denies our countless inborn differences, Locke, schlock, and something. 

The problem is, if we deny this truth, then unequal outcomes will be misinterpreted as unjust, which then legitimizes giving power to the state to unjustly enforce equality, or what the left now calls "equity." The whole nightmare is simply the logical entailment of a false premise at the start.

Of course, more people than ever are now susceptible to this delusion, and for several reasons, including widespread exposure to higher indoctrination, accompanied by a lack of exposure to the real world, ultimately ending in the current divide between productive blue collar men and affluent and overeducated white Karens of both sexes:

In the past, common sense, which is the ability to grasp the natures of things, tended to be a guiding light. Moreover, by the physical toil involved in the average person's life, one learned how reality functioned and so between common sense and experience, people could work their way out of difficult situations.

However, in a technocratic culture which pervades society today, less contact is had with reality as the technology becomes the prism by which a technocratic generation views reality. The technology stands between the knower and reality and thereby the knower is distanced from reality and loses the opportunity to gain the necessary experience in order to live according to reason....

[E]xcessive use of technology tends to strip one of common sense because it keeps a person from being in direct contact, either physically or psychologically, with reality and therefore the person loses the capacity to grasp the nature of things and how they are to be treated (Ripperger).

Is there a perpetually outraged activist who wouldn't be happier as a Midwestern farm girl with a husband and four kids? Or are they born that way?

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Mental Health Food

Truth is to the soul as food is to the body, except to say that there's no such thing as unhealthy truth, e.g., junk truth, processed truth, deep fried truth, etc., no matter how much it triggers the recipient.

 "The study of mental health," writes Ripperger, "includes in its very ratio or notion the necessity of the mind to attain the truth in order to have mental health." 

Conversely, we know that those who suffer from mental illness often do not possess the truth about the thing(s) which troubles them. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that the science of mental health and illness grasp the nature of truth so as to be able to foster it in those under its care. 

Well, the American Psychological Association begs to differ: it has officially voiced 

approval of policies President Joe Biden has adopted to address the COVID-19 pandemic, racism, immigration, climate change, LGBTQ rights and access to health care, among others. 

We also support the administration’s actions to reinstate the policy allowing transgender people to serve in the military, since scientific research shows not only the deleterious effects of discrimination but that gender identity is irrelevant to the ability to serve our nation. 

Of course. As if we need scientific research! to prove that trannies make the toughest soldiers. 

We are also pleased that this White House has made curbing global warming a priority, especially given growing anxiety and concern about the environment documented by psychological research.

If only there were some way to cure people of the anxiety they feel over imaginary problems... 

"The human intellect, in order to know the truth, must conform or adequate itself to the thing" -- the real thing, not imaginary things such as "transgenderism," catastrophic climate change, discriminatory policing, "systemic racism," etc. 

Hmm. It seems that the APA aligns itself with the very societal forces, powers, and institutions that guarantee more mental illness. Which is perfectly understandable. Your problems may be imaginary, but that doesn't mean psychologists are going too charge less to treat them. Gotta feed the monkey. 

As we've said before, Thomistic psychology is just common sense; more to the point, it is simply a description of human behavior, emotion, and intellection, of what we do and can't help doing when we think, will, or desire. But

Part of the scourge of modern philosophy and its effect on modern society is that people expect reality or things to congrue to them; this is prime material for mental illness (emphasis mine).

This is to literally invert the cosmos, so no wonder it should result in so much psychopathology -- and again, no wonder modern psychology should embrace a metaphysic that lubricates the greasy wheels of the revenue stream.

"While we may want the sky to be green" -- or men to be women, or trespassing to be insurrection, or election security to be racist, or Trump to be a Russian agent, or defunding the police to make us safer -- "nevertheless reality dictates that it is actually blue." Bottom line:

People who suffer from a grave psychological illness make assertions which do not congrue with reality and it is precisely because the individual's intellect is not functioning properly that he states what is false.

Does this imply that people who make untrue assertions suffer from grave psychological illness? Not necessarily, but certainly more often than we might appreciate. Adam Schiff, for example, may not be as delusional as he appears to be; rather, his lies may be a result of sociopathy, which is another form of grave mental illness, and no doubt more dangerous than mere delusions.

It's the difference between, say, a delusional but harmless and even entertaining Keith Olbermann, and a conniving psychopath such as Schiff or Omar, who have no entertainment value. Yet. 

If people "are unwilling to conform to reality, they have already begun the process which will result in causing mental illness." 

You'd think this would be uncontroversial, but then, you have common sense. In fact, there are whole university departments dedicated to the proposition that truth is relative. Conveniently, such twisted thinkers are too stupid to understand the arguments that demolish their ideology.

Nevertheless, for the restavus & bestavus

it is not difficult to see that falsity is the evil or bad of the intellect, for if the intellect is by nature designed to know the truth, then falsity militates agains that nature (Ripperger).

Monday, January 17, 2022

Intellectual Vice

A good habit is a virtue, while a bad habit is a vice; we know about physical and moral vices, but today we want to discuss intellectual vices and virtues, and the habits that dispose us one way or the other. 

Of note, only intellectual beings can have intellectual vices. Come to think of it, only human beings can have vices at all, as these presuppose both a telos and the freedom to reach it. 

Therefore, we must first establish the telos of the intellect, which is -- wait for it -- knowledge of truth. In particular, speculative knowledge exists for its own sake, and is thus objective and disinterested. Like this blog. 

If truth is relative, then there can be no such thing as intellectual vice, and voila!, you are cured. Thus the perennial appeal of relativism, subjectivism, and sophistry more generally, since these cure the spiritual disease by denying its existence. The rest is tenure.

I know you don't need examples, and if you do, then no amount will suffice. Nevertheless, here you go (https://www.campusreform.org/article?id=18773)

Gender Professor Says Biological Sex is a 'Social Construct'

I will resist the temptation to read the article, and just rewrite the headline to say: 

'Gender' 'Professor' Denies Principle of Contradiction, Thereby Nullifying Anything Else He Says

Specifically, he denies the principle of contradiction -- which is only the foundation of the possibility of logical thought -- by affirming that biology both exists and doesn't exist, or that biology is just "biology." The rest is tenure.

This is what happens when an intellect descends into vice. Truly, the (intellectual) vice that justifies (physical or moral) vice is more vicious than the vices it normalizes. 

They used to say that "modernism is the sum of all heresies." Analogously, relativism must be the substance of all intellectual vices, heresies, and academic clown shows. That sounds about right, but check back with me at the end of the post. 

Meanwhile, Ripperger notes that psychiatry at least has "a sound basis as a science," since it has a well-defined material object, i.e., the brain and its electrochemical activity. 

Granted, it doesn't have a very good understanding of this inconceivably complex object -- in my opinion because if it could understand the object, the object would be too simple to host the consciousness of the psychiatrist. Nevertheless, at least in theory it recognizes the brain as brain.

Not so psychology, which violates the principle of noncontradiction before it even begins. After all, "psyche" is Greek for soul, which modern psychology denies. Oh sure, there are new age types that blabber about the soul, but in an entirely frivolous and ad hoc manner, not in any consistent scientific way rooted in ultimate metaphysical causes and the nature of things.

Now,

any valid psychology must recognize that its object is not merely material. Rather, man's intellect has three parts, two of which are immaterial and perform their functions independently of the body (Ripperger).

The material part is, of course, the senses; to be perfectly accurate, the senses are part material and part spiritual, but they are obviously not fully intellectual as they cannot reflect upon themselves -- in other words, the eye sees light but doesn't know it is seeing light. Rather, it is the task of the immaterial intellect to know such abstractions.

There are two parts of the intellect that transcend matter, these being what is called the "agent intellect" and the will, the latter being our freedom to rationally choose between alternatives. The will is subordinated to the intellect, in that in its absence there can be no real freedom, just arbitrary or predetermined movement.

If you are a modern sophisticate, then you know the immaterial may be reduced to the material. But if you are a deplorable rube like me, then you are under the delusion that 

the mere fact that man contemplates the nature of truth is a sign that he is different from animals.... For one cannot point to a physical instance of truth, for truth is not a material thing and cannot be grasped by a material thing.

In a very real way, in order to believe the fantasy of materialism, one must reduce oneself to matter, and then it all makes sense. In other words, one must kill or at least numb the soul.

But you can't kill the soul, since it is both immaterial and immortal. It always comes back, usually with a vengeance. Consider the joyless, puritan religiosity of the anti- and irreligious Woke. 

We'll conclude with this controversial claim:

No psychology can treat the individual without recognizing that he gains his knowledge by means of reality (ibid., emphasis mine).

This claim doesn't apply to the vice of modern "psychology." The rest is tenure. 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Truth is a Victim but Victims aren't the Truth

Human intelligence supposedly hasn't changed in the past 50,000 years or more. Obviously, there are just as many morons today as there were when Aquinas or Plato or Moses or walked the earth, the difference being that today's morons are equipped with weapons like literacy and credentials, so are that much more dangerous. 

Man isn't just intelligence; rather, he is also will and sentiment, which is where the real trouble starts. Intelligence can only go so wrong without other non-cognitive factors coming into play.

For example, it seems that man has an in-built need for "distinction," or of being seen as special. Now, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with this. Indeed, it can be quite adaptive in a social context, so long as the distinction being sought is honorable and virtuous. 

For example, the founders were positively neurotic about being seen as disinterested and above reproach, and paranoid about their reputations. It's surprising that more of them didn't die in duels.

The point is, mere intelligence isn't nearly enough to ensure one's distinction. After all, half of the population possesses above average intelligence, so who wants to be lumped in with them? 

For intelligence to be sufficient to distinguish one from the herd, one would have to be at least two standard deviation above average, placing one in the top two percent. To be on the safe side, you might want to be three standard deviations above,  which puts you in the top .1%. 

Note that education has no effect on IQ: it will be as low or high as it is, the rest being puffery, ornamentation, and fraud, as in the Wizard of Oz: 

"Why, anybody can have a brain. That's a very mediocre commodity. Every pusillanimous creature that crawls the earth or slinks through the slimy seas has a brain.... 

"Back where I come from we have universities, seats of great learning -- where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts -- and with no more brains than you have... But! They have one thing you haven't got! A diploma!

"Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Universitatus Committeeatum e plurbis unum, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of Th.D."

"Th.D.?"

"Yeah -- that... that's Dr. of Thinkology!"

"It is time for us to do what we have been doing. And that time is every day. Oh joy, rapture! I've got a brain!"

Speaking of movies and brainless but credentialed mediocrities, in this week's newsletter, Rob Henderson recalls "the opening scene of the 2010 film The Social Network,” when

the Mark Zuckerberg character asks, referring to the Harvard student body, “How do you distinguish yourself in a population of people who all got 1600 on their SATs?”

"Victimhood narratives," says Henderson, "seem to be the answer elite colleges have provided." In fact, unless you are a victim, being good and intelligent not only won't be enough, but are no doubt markers of Privilege. Therefore, one must be able to say: I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people have victimized me! 

Henderson:

A recent story in The Chronicle of Higher Education tells the story of a student at the University of Pennsylvania who, the article suggests, embellished her background. Fierceton described herself as a first-generation, low-income, former foster youth in her application to the Ivy League university and, later, the Rhodes Scholarship. After two investigations, one by Penn and one by Rhodes, the university is reportedly withholding Fierceton’s degree and she has subsequently withdrawn from the scholarship.

In short, not only do elite universities "incentivize victimhood," but college advisors recommend applicants to "sell your pain." Thus, there is a race to the bottom, with students climbing under each other  to prove they are authentically pathetic:

How many supposedly underprivileged students admitted to elite universities are truly underprivileged? For every Mackenzie Fierceton we learn about, how many embellishments and outright fabrications go undiscovered?
Beyond gaming college admissions, there is also widespread dishonesty in the universities themselves, perhaps because they select for deceitful students.
A contemporary remake of the Wizard of Oz would have to feature a character who longs to be a genuine victim:

"Why, anybody can have a brain. That's a very mediocre commodity.... 

"Back where I come from we have universities, seats of great indoctrination -- where humans of every conceivable race and inconceivable gender go to become great victims. And when they come out, they feel deeply aggrieved -- and with no more oppression than you've experienced... But! They have one thing you haven't got! A diploma!

"Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of Vh.D."

"Vh.D.?"

"Yeah -- that... that's Dr. of VictimHood!"

A thought just flashed before me that the most consequential victim in history was and is Truth himself. Nor is this irrelevant to the subject of this post, because it is the template or deep structure of the above noted "race to the bottom" that began in academia but now pervades the culture. The entire phenomenon quite clearly partakes of the deep structure of Christianity, and is inconceivable in a non-Christian context.

For the template of Christianity implicitly teaches that the lowest was the highest, that the greatest victim was the redeemer. Which is why, for example, Barack Obama was elected, so, where's our redemption? Right over there, next to the communist omelet. 

But the real subject of this post is human intelligence, minus the contamination of bogus victimhood, status, distinction, and all the rest. The subject has been on my mind since rereading a book called Introduction to the Science of Mental Health, by Ripperger. It has a lot to say about intelligence, truth, knowledge, and logic, but it makes too much sense to ever be taught in grad school. That's no exaggeration, because I was there. I would have had no earthly idea what to make of the following, from the Foreword:

Christ warned us about what would happen if we do not base our endeavors on Him and His Eternal Truth....

This applies especially to the science of modern psychology. Since it does not have a solid foundation in an authentic view of man, modern psychology is doomed to be "swept away" to the scrap heap of futility.... Since [it] starts with faulty premises about what constitutes mental health, it cannot help but produce useless and sometimes even harmful theories and remedies for mental illness.

Out of time. To be continued tomorrow, or rather, begun...